When I was young, we would visit Uncle Bernie and Auntie Grettie at the farm in Co Longford, my grandmother's birthplace. It was, and remains, one of my personal 'holy places' of pilgrimage, though Nana, Grettie and Bernie have long been gathered into the barns of the Lord. The busy, bustling life of the farm reminded me that Christ was not born into a tidy little chalet, some tasteful, designer-inspired construction, but into a working outhouse; full of the noises, the odours, the hurly-burly (and by-products!) of life. He is born into my life too; with all its noises and smells (and by-products) - into all the muck and madness, magic and magnificence of human life. He is Emmanuel, God-with-us, with us in every aspect of our lives; their joys and griefs, their dreams and nightmares, their boredom and their glory. If we can really let this sink in then it means that every moment of our lives is graced and is an opportunity to meet Christ. This is the cause of our joy and our hope.
RECENTLY DECEASED Please remember in your prayers all who have died recently, especially;
Patricia Cameron (Funeral: 12 January, 11am) Rebecca Nwaozuzu (Funeral: 13 January, 11am)
Christine Murray (Funeral: 17 January, 11.00 am) Diana Klein (Funeral: 10 January, 11.30 am) Mary Carr (Funeral: 6 January, 11.00 am)
and all those who have died during this time of pandemic. We continue to remember in our prayers all those who are sick and those who care for them. CHRISTMAS EVE There will be NO 10 am morning Mass on Christmas Eve. CHRISTMAS MASSES Please be mindful that, in the current situation, we will not be able to permit entry to anyone who does not have a booking, nor can we allow standing in the Church, Hall or Narthex. Christmas Eve Masses will be at 6.00, 8.00 and 10 pm. On Christmas Day, Masses will be at 9.00 and 11 am. As Boxing Day falls on Sunday, 26th, we will have Mass at 9 am and 11 am. There will NO evening Masses on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or Monday, 27th December but we will have morning Mass on Monday. AND REMEMBER; we have to keep the Church well-ventilated, so wrap up well and, if you have any concerns at all, remain at home and join us virtually. FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY This year, 26th December is the Feast of the Holy Family. Cardinal Vincent has released a Pastoral Letter which will be available on the diocesan website from 26th. Some printed copies will be available in the Church.
FEAST OF ST STEPHEN Traditionally, this is the feast of the Altar Servers and I want to take this opportunity to thank them all for their service; I am hugely grateful to those who have returned to service after the long break and hugely impressed by those who have have come newly to the service of the altar. If anyone else would like to serve, please contact me directly. Special thanks to Raquel for taking responsibility for training. CHRISTMAS CRIB & CHURCH DECORATION Many thanks, as ever, to Des (& Sophie) for erecting the Crib, which Des originally built. Thanks to Dave and Eddie for all their sterling work in preparing the Church and hall. Thanks to the wonderful team of flower arrangers and to Sam Roberts of The Flower Shop, Bushey, for supplying the beautiful blooms. The 'Crib Collection' will go to the Catholic Children's Society, which provides mental health services, family support and emergency grants. You can contribute at the Crib; in the basket or using the QR code there, or on-line at cathchild.org.uk .RESULTS OF THE RECENT PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL RAFFLE 1. Ciara Sutherland 2. Dr Lobo 3. R Cottingham 4. Una 5. Marian Quinn Please come and collect your prizes at the Presbytery! PRAYER OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION As requested recently, here is the prayer for those who assist at Mass virtually; My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already here, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen. AND FINALLY... Christmas is a time for generosity and I am, as ever, hugely grateful to you all for your generosity; to one another, to those in need of our support and, especially at this time, to myself and the confreres of the house. Your kindness is deeply appreciated. May Christ, Emmanuel 'God-with-us', bless us and those we carry in our hearts, bless our world with all its majesty and messiness and bring healing in His wings. Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas. Rev Eugene Curran CM